Although some schools have both male and female club field hockey teams, varsity level field hockey teams are made up predominantly of women. Traditional field hockey scholarships are competitive and require minimum GPA requirements, and as in women’s softball, are very competitive at the top levels of play. They also usually come in the form of partial scholarships covering 25 percent of your college costs or more, depending on the program and how available funds are dispersed among team members. While that increases your chances of landing some scholarship money from your intended school, it also means you shouldn’t limit your scholarship search to field hockey or college-based awards.
Don’t rule out contacting your local field hockey leagues and organizations if you belong to them, as a history with a group goes a long way when a selection committee is looking at its list of potential scholarship winners. Local groups also place less emphasis on talent than college-based awards, and often you just need to prove you have played the sport to be eligible for a scholarship. Many local league scholarships are also needs-based, or factor in academics, community service, and extracurricular activities outside of field hockey when distributing their awards, and as a niche sport, the competition for awards on the local level may be less fierce than for more high-profile sports.
Check out some examples of where to find field hockey scholarships below. For additional information about awards based on different criteria, try conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.
About $1 billion in full and partial athletic scholarships are awarded each year by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to more than 126,000 undergraduate student-athletes at Division I and Division II schools. Although these scholarships are awarded and administered directly by each academic institution, not the NCAA, you’ll be required to meet the requirements of the NCAA to receive any funding. Those requirements include a minimum GPA for both the college-bound and those already on campuses, and qualifying standardized test scores. Contact your intended school’s athletic department for more information if you have the academics and the skill to play on a college team.
Athletic scholarships for undergraduate student-athletes at Division I and Division II schools are partially funded through the NCAA membership revenue distribution. About $1 billion in athletic scholarships are awarded each year. Over 126,000 student-athletes receive either a partial or full athletic scholarship. However, these scholarships are awarded and administered directly by each academic institution, not the NCAA.
Most colleges such as Northwestern University now only sponsor women’s field hockey teams, but that doesn’t mean competition will be any less fierce than if there was a men’s team vying for a pool of scholarship funding. Those schools that award scholarships to female field hockey players don’t receive double the funding because they don’t offer men’s programs, so chances are you’ll be looking at a partial scholarship even if you’re a highly-skilled female field hockey player. Look at scholarships for women at your college or in your community that aren’t field hockey specific, too, because scholarships for women usually don’t require an athletic component.
If you plan on playing field hockey in college, whether on a varsity team or on the club level, your intended college could have funds and endowments for the sport, often set up by alumni who played the sport before you ever set foot on that campus. The University of Connecticut, for example, gives an annual award through the Diane Wright Field Hockey Scholarship Fund. (The school boasts two national championships in the sport, so competition there is fierce.) Make sure you do your research, and talk to your financial aid office and athletic departments about local and college-based awards you could be eligible for.
Scholarships are awarded through the American Field Hockey Foundation (AFHF) to college student-athletes based on leadership, community service, desire, commitment, and academic success. The general scholarship application is available through the organization’s website, but the foundation also awards scholarships in honor of AFHF alumni and donors that change annually. The Dennis R. Casale Scholarship, for example, was a $1,000 award earmarked for 2009 for graduating high school seniors interested in playing the sport in college. Casale was a board member on the foundation and parent of a field hockey player. While the foundation offers mentoring support to high school female players, both male and female student-athletes are invited to apply for scholarships through the organization.
USA Field Hockey, the national governing body of field hockey, offers a number of opportunities for both male and female field hockey players to win scholarships or funding for college through competitions, both sponsored by the national organization and state-based clubs. If you live in a state with member clubs of USA Field Hockey (they’re found across the country, but are most common on the East Coast and Midwest), look into whether you could be eligible for some money for college. Gateway Field Hockey in St. Louis, for example, awards two $500 Gateway College Scholarships to high school senior field hockey players. Players are picked on their dedication to the sport, sportsmanship, and work ethic at camp and with Gateway's select teams. If you’re already a part of a USA Field Hockey-sponsored club, make sure you know about the funding opportunities available to you.
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